Wellhausen, Wisconsin's seniors experience disappointment yet again
MINNEAPOLIS — It was a feeling of bitter disappointment.
After the second longest game in UW women’s hockey history (31-5-2) , the Colgate Raiders (34-5-1) ended up on top with the 4-3 victory in the first round of the Frozen Four, ending the Badgers season. Yet again UW came up short. And, in a year that showed tremendous growth, the Badgers’ seniors were left ringless once again.
Wisconsin left it all on the ice Friday night, matching Colgate’s energy, effort and scoring from the puck drop until the final buzzer which arrived nearly three and a half hours later. Bounces just didn’t go the Badgers way all night, and in the second overtime period, Colgate’s Breanne Wilson-Bennet was able to net her third goal of the night to end the Badgers’ season.
This is the fifth consecutive season Wisconsin has reached the Frozen Four, and it is the fifth consecutive season Wisconsin has failed to win the National Championship.
But for the players, not winning it all doesn’t mean it was an unsuccessful season.
“It really sucks not to win,” senior Baylee Wellhausen said as she fought back tears, “but being a Badger has been absolutely amazing, and I’m lucky to have been around such amazing people for all four years as a Badger.”
This Badgers team was able to defy expectations all season long, rising from being a inexperienced team with various questions to one of the top teams in the country. Many thought the team was too young and too raw to compete for anything real this year, but thanks to great senior leadership from players, like Wellhausen, the team matured faster than expected.
When a teary-eyed Wellhausen left the podium at the end of the night, it was easy to see how much head coach Mark Johnson cares about his players. He took a second to comfort her before talking about how much the seniors meant to the program.
“Three seniors (Claudia Kepler, Baylee Wellhausen, Maddie Rolfes) probably played their last game of hockey tonight,” Johnson said. “And while its hard after a game like that, you have to thank them for the contributions they made to the program.
“One game doesn’t define what their purpose was at the university and on our team.”
Leaving the ice the Badgers looked defeated, both physically and mentally.
However Wisconsin’s future is bright, and another trip to the Frozen Four is likely to happen sooner rather than later.
Before Wellhausen left the podium, she was able to muster up half a smile and give some encouraging words for the Badgers next season.
“I’m really excited to see what the team can do next year,” she said. “Maybe they’ll finally be able to bring it home.”Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter